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4 days ago

From the Editor's Desk: Process all the things

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Yacht Club

As we continue to search for the best smartphone camera, let's take a minute and enjoy the damn pictures

When, exactly, did we become so damn cynical about smartphone cameras? In my lifetime we've gone from Polaroids and those point-and-shoots with the crazy five- or six-shot (I don't remember how many) flashes to friggin' computers with 4- or 16- or even 20-megapixel shooters in our pockets. We're able to take multiple pictures, select, edit and then share them with the world just seconds later. No more 24-hour processing. No more hoping you get the right prints back. No more lugging out large photo albums that you might care about once or twice a year. We have unlimited virtual storage.

So why the hell can't we just enjoy the shots?

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5 days ago

Apps of the Week: Alpha Zero, Bloom.fm, Zoodles and more!

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Apps of the Week

Another wonderful roundup of apps from the writers at Android Central

Another week is in the books, and that means it's time for the latest edition of our Apps of the Week post. We round up a single app picked by each of the writers here at Android Central and put them on display every Saturday afternoon. The apps we pick out never have to follow a theme or a certain purpose — all that matters here is that we use the app and want to tell more people about the reasons why.

This week we have another great roundup of apps, including a new game, another music service and a great way to repurpose an old Android device for your kids. Read along with us and see how this week's picks stack up.

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5 days ago

This week's sidebar poll: Tell us how you feel about the new TouchWiz

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TouchWiz

It's different, and many would say improved - but what do you say?

Right now, the hottest thing in the Android Universe is the Galaxy S5. Usually we're the hottest thing in the Android universe, but we're OK being behind the new phone from the biggest Android OEM for a few weeks. And because this is the Internet, you can't say the words Galaxy S5 without someone else saying the words TouchWiz.

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5 days ago

OnePlus One design finally revealed, but not by the hype machine

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OnePlus One press render

If there's one thing that's driven us — and you — crazy about the OnePlus One, it's been the overhyping process of slowly dribbling out specs, pricing, sale processes, and vague hints about how the smartphone will compare with current flagship devices. We tired so much of it that we opted to ignore the noise until something cut through that was truly interesting — and a series of marketing material renders fits that bill quite nicely.

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5 days ago

Moto E specs allegedly leak, thinner body and low-price inbound

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The Moto G is as of now Motorola's lowest-priced smartphone offering, but the highly-popular G might soon be looking down at an even cheaper phone: the Moto E. Since its launch in November last year, the Moto G has gone on to be Motorola's best-selling smartphone in history, thanks in no small part to its incredibly affordable price point and decent performance at that price. According to Xataka México (translated), the Moto E will feature similar specs to the Moto G, but come in body that is thinner and more compact.

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5 days ago

Samsung Galaxy S5 going for $99.99 on Amazon

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Looking to save some cash on the new Samsung Galaxy S5? Then you're in luck if you've been wanting it on Verizon. Head to Amazon where you'll be able to save over $100 off the on-contract price. Verizon offers the Galaxy S5 for $199 with a contract, while Amazon is has the same device for just $99. But you'll have to wait for it — details after the break.

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5 days ago

Android 4.4.3 tipped for Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition by Bluetooth SIG

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There are so many groups and organizations that certify devices for compatibility and safety, so it's not terribly surprising when one of those groups publishes data on something that's yet to be announced — like Android 4.4.3. Earlier this week saw Sprint announcing an update to Android 4.4.3 for the Nexus 5, and today it's the Bluetooth Special Interest Group's turn. In this case it's another "Google" device, the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition.

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5 days ago

What I'm playing this week: Sonic CD

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Sonic CD on Samsung Galaxy S5 with Samsung Gamepad

Bring a little retro gaming to your Easter weekend with this 16-bit classic

I've been playing around with Samsung's Gamepad accessory with the Galaxy S5 this past week, and one of the Gamepad's big strengths is classic side-scrolling platform games like SEGA's Sonic CD. Originally released in 1993 for the SEGA CD (Mega CD), Sonic CD has the company's spiky mascot embarking on an adventure through time, doing battle not only with Dr. Robotnik, but a a cybernetic version of himself.

The game controls much like other Genesis-era Sonic titles, with fast-paced gameplay across seven levels and a variety of robotic foes and boss battles to contend with. With past, present and future versions of each zone, sprawling level design, seizure-inducing 3D special stages and an insane J-pop-inspired soundtrack, Sonic CD is unlike any platformer of its era. It represented SEGA getting to grips with the then new CD-ROM format, and going a bit nuts in the process. The result is a game that's sometimes frustrating and confusing, but consistently wacky and always enjoyable — and for $2.99, worth giving a try on Android.

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5 days ago

TripIt for Android gets a major redesign

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TripIt for Android

TripIt — a must-have travel app for anyone who leaves home more than once a year — tonight got a major redesign in its Android application. It's being touted as a "new card view," and it is, we suppose, insofar as you swipe left and right between items now instead of scrolling and taping back and forth. That's not to say it's not a good update — it is — but visually it feels like some sections got left behind.

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5 days ago

FCC to limit Verizon and AT&T participation in upcoming low-band spectrum auction

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Verizon

AT&T threatens to not participate in the auction if rumored restrictions are put in place

An upcoming spectrum auction that will offer up airwaves previously reserved for broadcasters could actually give the most benefit to smaller mobile network providers. The auction, which will have highly-desirable 600MHz spectrum up for grabs, may have restrictions placed on it that will keep the big players Verizon and AT&T from snatching up too much. According to reports, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler plans to set up the auction in a way that smaller providers — such as T-Mobile and smaller regional carriers — will have a fair shot at buying some spectrum without being drastically outbid by the big money behind the leading carriers.

Chairman Wheeler explains that because Verizon and AT&T have taken advantage of their market position in past auctions they have snatched up a majority of the sub-1GHz spectrum across most of the country, while smaller carriers have traditionally relied on the less-efficient spectrum above 1GHz and even 2GHz in some cases. The proposed auction plans expect to restrict any single buyer from picking up more than one-third of the spectrum up for grabs in any given market — once they bid and control that amount, the other two-thirds will be up for sale to other carriers.

Naturally Verizon and AT&T aren't too happy about the situation, and AT&T in particular has made statements that it could possibly not participate in the auction altogether — even though it has participated in every major auction in the past — if the restrictions are put in place. The nation's second-largest carrier claims the restrictions would keep it from making a bid for spectrum covering upwards of 70 percent of the U.S. population. The threat of dropping one big bidder out of the auction means the government would potentially raise a far smaller amount of money for the high-value spectrum.

Although Wheeler's positions on providing more competition in the wireless carrier market have been questionable in the past, it doesn't seem that a threat from AT&T will deter him from putting together an auction that could in the end benefit lower-tier carriers and in turn competition amongst the big four. A formal showing of the final rules for the auction is expected in the near future.

Source: WSJ

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